The San Francisco 49ers quarterback position remains in the spotlight following a poor performance by Blaine Gabbert, and head coach Chip Kelly is fielding questions from everybody about it. On Sunday, Kelly said he did not consider replacing Gabbert during the game.
In the post-game locker room, Colin Kaepernick was asked if he was mentally and physically ready to come in and play at this point. He said he is ready, and thinks he showed it in the 49ers final preseason game. He said, “I’m out at practice every day, working, making sure that I’m ready for when that time does come.” He said even if he had been called on against the Seahawks, he is, “always ready to step on that field. And looking forward to that opportunity.”
Chip Kelly was back on KNBR Monday morning for his weekly day-after show. The hosts asked him if he was considering opening up the QB competition again. Kelly referenced Kaepernick’s injuries and recovery in his response:
“Well the competition’s always been open, and again, I think people fail to realize that…Kap was hurt. He missed the entire offseason, he’s still getting back into form. You know, he usually plays at about 225. He’s not at 225, right now. He missed an entire offseason of lifting, had thumb surgery, shoulder surgery, knee surgery. So, he’s still coming along. And as he got back toward the beginning of camp, only two weeks in, he hurt his throwing shoulder, separate injury. Really, just a fatigue situation because he hadn’t gotten an opportunity to buildup, and really train the way he wants to train. So, he’s still coming back from what happened to him and knocked him out of last year. That always factors into the decision before he’s ready to go on the field.”
This raises an interesting question. On the one hand, Kaepernick has been active all three weeks, and got a few snaps at the end of the 49ers shutout of the Rams. Given what Kelly said today, does that mean he’s close enough to be an emergency option, but not to start? If that’s the case, so be it.
If not, then wouldn’t it make more sense to have Christian Ponder active instead? Of course, Ponder has been with the team for a month and a half, so the coaching staff might not be sufficiently comfortable with where he is with the offense. I really don’t know what to make of it for the time being.